Virginia governor meets advisers as Democrats call for resignation amid blackface row

Virginia governor apologizes for 'racist and offensive' costume in photo showing people in blackface, KKK garb

Virginia governor apologizes for 'racist and offensive' costume in photo showing people in blackface, KKK garb

Gov. Ralph Northam clung to office Sunday amid almost unanimous calls from his own party to resign over a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook, going silent after a freaky 24 hours in which he first admitted he was in the picture, then denied it.

Northan denies being in the yearbook photo even though he had apologized for it Friday and said previously that he was in it.

He did however voluntarily discuss an instance in the same time period in which, he said, he wore shoe polish on his face while winning a dance contest in San Antonio, Texas, dressed as Michael Jackson.

Northam stood his ground in calls to old friends and colleagues Saturday night, saying he meant to stay and fight, according to three people who received those calls.

"Northam's appeal to the voters was that he wasn't an ordinary politician".

Well, that was certainly one a weird press conference yesterday.

Northam is in an nearly unsustainable position with three years left in his term.

On Saturday, though, the governor reversed course and said he wasn't in the picture after all. "I would say that this is just heartbreaking". In a sign Monday of the challenges he could face, Katherine Rowe, president of the College of William & Mary, canceled an appearance by Northam at an event this Friday because his presence would "fundamentally disrupt the sense of campus unity we aspire to". His rapid rise, including a stint as lieutenant governor, was powered more by his biography than political charisma or know-how.

It continued: "Governor Northam has served the people of the Commonwealth faithfully for many years, but the events of the past 24 hours have inflicted huge pain and irrevocably broken the trust Virginians must have in their leaders". He also volunteered as medical director of a children's hospice, caring for dying youngsters and their families. The Virginian-Pilot later obtained a copy from Eastern Virginia Medical School, which Northam attended. Tim Kaine, a fellow Democrat, joked that a "supercomputer" couldn't have come up with a better resume.

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At the time, Mia spoke out, saying that her ex's heart was "broken" after losing their son (via Entertainment Tonight ). Detectives have been called in to investigate the actor's death, which was characterized as a possible alcohol overdose.

Northam won the race against Ed Gillespie by a comfortable 8 point margin, but Trump suggested that Gillespie's opposition research team was guilty of "Malpractice and Dereliction of Duty".

Northam spent years actively courting the black community in the lead-up to his 2017 gubernatorial run, building relationships that helped him win both the primary and the general election. At first, Northam acknowledged being in the picture which shows a man in blackface standing next to another person in a Klansman costume, and he apologized.

Northam would normally find allies here. In an attempt to prove his story, the governor considered doing the moonwalk for reporters but decided against the idea when his wife Pam Northam called the circumstances "inappropriate".

"I winced when I saw that", former Gov. Terry McAuliffe said on CNN.

According to that source, the governor specifically said that if he resigns, he would be resigning as a "racist for life", and that the only way he can clear his name is to stay in office and convince people that he is not in that photo and that the photo does not represent who he is.

Northam said Saturday: "Today I am not ready to ask Virginians to grant me forgiveness for my past actions".

It was not just Northam who changed his statements.

The Democratic governor and pediatric neurologist was defending efforts to loosen abortion restrictions during a January 30 radio interview when described a hypothetical situation where a severely deformed newborn infant could be left to die. Among them: Democratic presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren; newly elected Democratic U.S. Reps.

He added that the last time he spoke with Northam was "probably a couple of days ago". Virginia is a competitive state that leans Democratic.

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